Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Torah Without a Tune
Rav Shefatia said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan: Whoever reads the Torah without a tune, or repeats a Mishna without a melody, about him Scripture says: ''So too I (G-d), have given them decrees which are not good," i.e. they turned My commandments into harsh decrees instead of privileges (Megilla 32a). Indeed, to study Torah without a melody is devoid of soul and of spirit. To study and teach Torah is not just an academic undertaking which can take place in a sterile environment. It requires an encounter with the deepest dimensions of the human soul, which is always alive and looking for new opportunities. The difference between a word spoken and a word sung is that a word sung is an antidote to words becoming slogans. It is an act of resistance against words becoming secularized. Simultaneously, words which are sung are words which reveal the depths of their inner meaning, surpassing the superficial and the common.
We…are dedicated to make our souls sing the words of the Torah while looking for new meaning and new opportunities to make Judaism the love of our lives and that of our students and fellow Jews. In following the ways of the very first Jew, Avraham Avinu, we want to discover Judaism in a way that allows its original beauty to shine once more, so that it can be experienced by anyone who looks for religious authenticity.
-- Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, in his Academy’s Bulletin [Vol. IV, No. 1 - November 2006]
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